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ReadSpeaker and Instructure Partner to Integrate TTS on the Canvas Learning Management System

Instructors and students can now benefit from speech-enabled educational content to facilitate the learning experience.
Posted Oct 16, 2013
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ReadSpeaker, a cloud-based text-to-speech provider, has partnered with Instructure, provider of the Canvas learning management system (LMS), to enable text-to-speech versions of virtually all course content.

Canvas uses the ReadSpeaker Enterprise Highlighting product, a software-as-a-service (SaaS) solution hosted by ReadSpeaker. Students have access to the read-aloud functionality from any connected device, including smartphones and tablets, through their mobile browsers. Students use the service by either selecting text on the screen and then clicking on the floating listen-button or by clicking directly on the floating listen-button. This will result in the text being read out and highlighted simultaneously on a word and/or sentence level as it is being read.

According to both companies, content that is presented in both audio and visual formats at the same time enables students to benefit from improved reading comprehension fluency, accuracy, and concentration. By providing an audio path to the learning content, ReadSpeaker also brings the Universal Design for Learning (UDL) principles for students with different learning styles.

The solution crafted for Canvas has been developed so system administrators can add JavaScript or links to the JavaScript in their admin interface. The ReadSpeaker Canvas integration can be configured to read predefined areas, skip certain content, change the default position of the floating listen-button, and modify the appearance of the player. This allows for maximum flexibility in how the ReadSpeaker listen feature is presented to students using the Canvas LMS.

"Canvas was designed to be a flexible learning platform and to accommodate different learning styles," said Brian Whitmer, co-founder and chief learning officer at Instructure, in a statement. "The ReadSpeaker integration into Canvas helps students access educational content in a way that fits their learning style, by enabling text-to-speech technology in their educational experience."

"ReadSpeaker fits nicely with the innovative and forward-looking Canvas LMS developed by Instructure," said Joop Heijenrath, ReadSpeaker co-founder, in a statement. "This partnership will help faculty using Canvas to reach out to all their students by providing them with a simple click and listen feature to easily access content pages, wikis, blogs, news, announcements, tests, and quizzes in audio format."

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